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Old 09-06-2008, 04:22 PM   #1
Driftless
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Default Maintaining a Yeast Starter (Like Sourdough) With and Without Freezing

Long title, I know - but wanted to get the concept out early.

I live in the ends-of-the earth third-world where "western" foodstuffs are hard to come by (my kingdom for some cheese!) However, I do have a stove, fridge, freezer and the internet. What more does a guy need?

One permanent resident in my freezer is my "wild-caught" sourdough starter. I just feed it once a week, and it gives me yummy, wholesome, vigorous yeasty-beasties for bread.

Another prize possession is 3 packets of muntons that I am afraid to use for a one-batch fermentation fandango and be yeast-less again.

So, questions:

1) Has anyone cultivated a "sour-beer" start? A healthy, happy, bottle of inebriated yeasters that can be continually halfed, fed and re-grown in the fridge ad-nauseum, ad-infinitum? (In the interest of full-disclosure, I have my heart set on Mead... (barley is a no-go here) so that might change the medium...)

2) Has anyone "caught" wild mead-yeast?

3) Has anyone had success with freezing yeast withOUT glycerin? I have no access to glycerin, but freezing seems like a good option...

4) Why does my life have to be so difficult????

Right. Thanks for your advice... feel free to redirect me to relevant threads--though I have spent the better part of two days devouring as much information as I could find on yeast conservation... but maybe I missed the golden nugget.

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Old 09-06-2008, 05:19 PM   #2
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See the thread Yeast Washing Illustrated.

You can, indeed, keep your yeast going. You need to harvest the yeast cake after fermentation, wash it, and store it properly. If you have the time and inclination you can even keep a base/starter as your pure strain and simply make starters from it each time. That will keep the potential mutations down, as I understand it.

Chad

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Old 09-06-2008, 07:29 PM   #3
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Try this one.

Culturing Yeast and Using Slants

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Old 09-08-2008, 11:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driftless View Post
I have no access to glycerin
you can buy it in every chemist's shop (or drugstore as you call it)
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:23 PM   #5
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This blog is pretty interesting, he's a homebrewer living in the Phillipines, trying to brew with some ptretty rudimentary stuff...it's a good read for anyone. Homebrewing in the Philippines

If you're still in China, then you should have no problem finding glycerine, since China is one of the major world manufacturers of it. It may also be known as glycerol.

Betcha if you go to a traditional Chinese Herbalist shop you will be able to get some if you can't find it in a regular pharmacy. I'm pretty sure that lot of the herbal samples will be stored in glycerine vials...So they will probably have some in the shop...

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Old 09-09-2008, 06:09 AM   #6
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Thanks for the reply(s) and links - some good info out there.

I scored some glycerine (甘油 in Chinese, apparently) that had some cloudy floaters in it... but should work. However, freezer space is limited (imagine your old college dorm micro-fridge) so I can't maintain much of a stock pile...

Chad: you posited that: "you can even keep a base/starter as your pure strain and simply make starters from it each time."

I think is what I am aiming to do, and maybe I'm inventing a wheel here, but has anyone maintained a long-term "starter" without freezing it... I'm okay with a once a week feeding (though my lady-friend will grumble about having another pet around...)

Can anyone imagine a problem with creating a starter (standard methodology) putting it in the fridge, dumping out half topping it off with a new nutrient/sugar mix, and popping it back in for another week?

Keeps the alcohol levels down, the food levels up, the yeast happy in a (fairly) stable environment...

Just brainstorming here.

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Old 09-09-2008, 06:13 AM   #7
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If you're still in China, then you should have no problem finding glycerine, since China is one of the major world manufacturers of it.
I did find it - but you would be surprised how often the above assumption lets me down Its amazing how many things are made in China that you can not find here... lots of knock-offs of things...

That, and I am pretty damn remote.

The blog you linked to is a good source - thanks for the beta.
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Old 09-09-2008, 06:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driftless View Post
Thanks for the reply(s) and links - some good info out there.

I scored some glycerine (甘油 in Chinese, apparently) that had some cloudy floaters in it... but should work. However, freezer space is limited (imagine your old college dorm micro-fridge) so I can't maintain much of a stock pile...

Chad: you posited that: "you can even keep a base/starter as your pure strain and simply make starters from it each time."

I think is what I am aiming to do, and maybe I'm inventing a wheel here, but has anyone maintained a long-term "starter" without freezing it... I'm okay with a once a week feeding (though my lady-friend will grumble about having another pet around...)

Can anyone imagine a problem with creating a starter (standard methodology) putting it in the fridge, dumping out half topping it off with a new nutrient/sugar mix, and popping it back in for another week?

Keeps the alcohol levels down, the food levels up, the yeast happy in a (fairly) stable environment...

Just brainstorming here.
That should be fine. However, as you continue to propagate from the same initial culture, eventually you'll see some changes in your fermentation profile. But if you're good about it, many breweries go for more than 10 generations (i.e. beers pitched.)
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Old 09-09-2008, 07:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Driftless View Post
However, freezer space is limited (imagine your old college dorm micro-fridge) so I can't maintain much of a stock pile...
I keep my frozen yeast in 10ml vials, they are really tiny.
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